Saturday, December 11, 2010

'Electrical issue' strands Qantas passengers -- again

The Qantas idea of maintenance seems to be to wait for something to go wrong and then fix it

THE Qantas brand has suffered another blow after a mechanical failure left 260 passengers on a San Francisco tarmac for more than four hours before the flight for Sydney was aborted last night.

Passengers had just boarded the Boeing 747 QF74 at 10pm (San Franciscan time) when the cabin blacked out and the emergency lights came on. "The pilot simply said 'APU fail' and then said later 'Don't be alarmed. Fire trucks are at the back of the plane but it is only precautionary. A fire extinguisher has been depleted and the engineers are having a look'," one passenger said last night.

The problem was the auxiliary power unit light which had apparently indicated a fire, setting off extinguishers. "We'd been there for hours when they tried to start the engines again but the APU light came back on so they went back to the (terminus) for more work," the passenger said.

"Then we were told the crew had run out of duty hours. We were on the plane for seven hours before they put us in hotels. "There were a lot of people on the plane very angry about the way this was handled."

The flight was to have arrived today at 8.30am but will now arrive in Sydney at 6.30am tomorrow.

A note to passengers stated there had been an "electrical issue" which required replacement parts not available locally. A spokesman for Qantas confirmed the electrical fault last night but said passengers were left on the tarmac for four-and-a-half hours, not seven.


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